The taste of change

We have been fortunate to have warm days as the calendar page turned to September.

The nights are, however, cool. Everything is different as summer sets on the horizon and autumn rises. 

When Ella and I walk in the orchards, the air is crisp and the aromas in the air are the same. There are a few more peaches still on the trees, but the fruit of fall is plums and pears.

The early morning light, coming a few minutes later every day, peeks through the branches and seems to light the pears from inside like fairy lanterns.

Even the perfume of pears has a magical taste. A fresh pear just ripened has juice that captures the bouquet of summer and keeps it for us to remember.

Poached in red wine or baked into a tart with frangipane, they are a decadent taste of what was with the promise of a cozy winter to come.

Plums offer the spice of autumn, and their earthy colours herald the changing tones of the new season. I always thought they made the perfect lunch box fruit, tough on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Their smaller size means its easier to enjoy a buffet of flavours, too. Italian plums, greengage, red plums… each has its own gift to give our taste buds. 

It seems more people are preserving the flavours of the seasons. When we tried to get more jam jars this week, we found there was not a one to be had in Kelowna.

If you plan to make something for your pantry, be sure you have your jars assembled first before you warm up the jam kettle.

Instead of a recipe for preserving fall flavours over time, I have a couple that you can enjoy right away.

I know everyone is busy with the new schedules of fall, but pears and plums keep a few days in the fridge so they will wait for the weekend. I also offer a way to save them for a later date once prepared if you want.

One good tip I learned from a farmer: pears ripen from the inside out, so buy them before they are ripe for best flavours.

Living in wine country, I enjoy the chance to use wine in my cooking. You don’t need an expensive wine here, so it’s not a huge expense. A bit of fruit for dessert is a lovely delicate way to end a meal, and it’s also gluten free.

You will impress your guests with an elegant red-wine poached pear on a plate and you can salute two of our region’s highlights. 

I love baked items that can be served any time of day:

  • Brunch
  • Teatime
  • Dessert
  • Snack on the road.

This plum torte is a beautiful and tasty way to feature the unique flavours of different plums; it works with any type and is especially attractive if you use more than one type. 

If you’re not much of a kitchen geek, then how about a visit to a farm stand or a U-pick orchard?

You can experience the smells of the fresh bounty at a farm stand or farmers’ market, and picking the fruit gives you the chance to see if you spot any fairies in the trees. You can also be proud of supporting local small businesses.

Thanksgiving may be a ways off yet, but it won’t hurt any of us to practise gratitude as we enjoy the beautiful bounty of our region. You see, gratitude is like smiles – and fairy dust. Once produced, it brushes off on other people and spreads its magic.

Happy munching.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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